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The dangers of dependency

Mar. 31, 2014 - 02:47PM   |  
By KEVIN G. COLEMAN   |   Comments
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Kevin Coleman is a senior fellow at SilverRhino and former chief strategist at Netscape. / File

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The United States is the most technologically advanced country in the world, with 86 percent of Americans being Internet users. The majority of the countryís businesses and critical infrastructure are connected to the Internet and many are dependent of Internet communications for a large percentage of their operations. This dependency is growing each and every day and as the Internet of Things (IoT), Vehicles as Computing Platforms, Wearable Technology and Smart City Technology initiative are undertaken, the nationís dependency will increase with every passing day. That is what has made Homeland Cyber Security a strategic imperative and a national security concern. ďObama Says Cyberterrorism Is Country's Biggest ThreatĒ that statement is the header on a Kaspersky Labís web page.

After all every computer, tablet, smart phone or other device connected to the Internet is a potential cyber weapon waiting to be loaded and used by criminals, extremists, terrorist and rogue nation states. While instructing a Cyber Warfare program at the War College, I brought up what many of you may not be aware of. Recently, at least one SMART refrigerators that was connected to the Internet became an unwilling participant in the distribution of malware. Researchers at Proofpoint (a cyber security company) discovered that over 100,000 SMART TVs, refrigerators and other smart household appliances had been compromised by hackers and each compromised device sent out 10 or more emails including malicious links/malware.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is the government entity on point for ensuring the operational integrity of the nationís critical infrastructure. However, they canít do it alone! Every individual, business, organization and government entity, as well as the military and intelligence community, has a role to play when it comes to homeland cyber security. Like it or not we are all in this together and to some extent we are all on the frontline! Every computer, tablet, Smartphone or other Internet connected device (even a smart refrigerator) is a potential weapon waiting to be loaded and used. A cooperative and highly collaborative environment must be established based on trust if the homeland is to be defended against the growing number of cyber threats we face each and every minute of every day.

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